In Vail hockey matchup, who is the underdog? |

In Vail hockey matchup, who is the underdog?

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL ” When the Vail Ski Patrol and Vail Ski School hit the ice at Dobson Arena at 6:30 p.m. tonight in their annual matchup, the whole underdog issue may finally be resolved.

At least until next year.

The ski patrollers, the perennial underdogs because of their smaller pool of players from which to draw, enter this year’s game as the defending champions.

But according to Ski Patrol’s Reid Phillips, nothing has changed.

“They are better than us on paper,” Phillips said. “They have a lot of firepower and skilled players. We have the same team coming back and are planning on playing good, hard-nosed American hockey.

“We only have 65 total on Ski Patrol and 10 of them are women, so we have a pretty small pool of guys to draw from,” Phillips said. “Those guys continue to contend they have to bring in Beaver Creek guys. With 1,600 ski instructors, they could field about four teams. We like to keep it pure and within Ski Patrol ranks.”

Gunnar Moberg, who captains the Ski School team, doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Philips on the whole numbers game.

“I think we are the underdogs,” he said. “We are a pretty big school, but we never put in the work requirement that you have to be a hockey player, which the Ski Patrol does.”

If Ski Patrol wins this year, Ski School may be the new underdog, but if Ski School comes up on top ” which it has in the majority of games through the years ” Ski Patrol will be the underdog once more.

Somewhere in the constant battle of David and Goliath, there is an actual hockey game to be played, and, really, neither side wants to lose.

“I think it’s going to be a very close game,” Moberg said. “I think it’s going to come down to the third period.”

While it can’t be confirmed, Phillips claims Ski School has been playing together on a consistent basis.

“As far as our prep, the guys have been drinking lots of beer and eating red meat,” said Phillips, who emphasized that his players have not been taking any performance-enhancing drugs.

Moberg, who is proud of his team’s finesse brand of hockey, thinks that Ski Patrol, the self-proclaimed old-time bangers, might not be as hard-nosed as advertised.

“They go after it and play tough,” he said. “But last year, they showed us they have a lot of good finesse players.”

Both teams have confirmed that there are no wagers being placed on the game ” it’s just pride. Admission is $2.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User